Happy as a Clam

This Christmas Eve my family decided to dive head first (literally we might as well have just come back from a fishing expedition) into planning the Feast of the Seven Fishes (Festa dei sette pesci). The man  (Mario Batali) who may very well have been my best buddy in another life calls it “what Italians do when they say they’re fasting.” I know you’re poking fun at the whole tradition but fasting we did not, Mario!

In fact, no meal at my parents household is ever considered a “snack” – everything is made in abundance, often excessive, to the point of no return. Holidays are usually like this….but on steroids. My sister started planning the menu on December 3rd (yes, three weeks in advance) and thus the e-mail chain began. Everyone had an opinion. “The cod knock-off of a meatball intrigues the heck out of me.” “This recipe is from the old streets of Calabria.” “We made the same sauce back in August and it was devoured.” I wasn’t even going to try to get in a word in…except that I was ALL in on this grand scheme, otherwise known as setting myself on autopilot to keep my mom under control amidst the cooking fiasco.

My sister and I were in charge of the linguine with clams dish. This was all in addition to the lobster bisque and rolls, oysters, cod balls, octopus, seafood salad, scallops…am I missing anything? Most likely. We used this recipe from Chef Dennis but a couple of points he missed here:

  • Aim for al dente linguine for more bite –  just pay more attention to the boiling water to get the pasta the right firmness
  • Some good dry white wine in with the garlic, hot pepper and olive oil sautee. A splash or two is all you need
  • This dish does not and should not need cheese. Cheese and seafood really should not be mixed

Mangia! And Happy New Year from my family to yours.

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